Reel, G, traditional Irish & American
Also known as Teetotaller; The Teatotaller’s
Originating in Ireland, this traditional tune is now firmly a part of American old time music and bluegrass. In the context of Irish traditional music the tune goes by the name of The Teetotaller, while in American traditional music it goes by the name of The Temperance Reel.
Temperance and teetotalling refer to abstinence from drinking alcohol. The “tee-” in “teetotaller” refers to a capital letter T, and is an old way of emphasizing the word “totaller” or total abstainer.
- Audio – Comhaltas: Teetotaller – a session recording from the album Foinn Seisiún Volume 1, by by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
- Audio – Maggie Boyle, Duck Baker and Ben Paley: Temperance Reel/June Apple – from the album The Expatriate Game (Reading, UK)
- Video – The Dubliners: The Scholar / The Teetotaller / The High Reel – from the album Jigs Reels & Hornpipes. (The Teetotaller starts at time 1:09 in this recording.)
As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.
Play from the Dots
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- Teetotaller Reel Set: The Teetotaller (The Temperance Reel, G) / The Silver Spear (D) / Miss McLeod’s Reel (Hop High Ladies, G)
- The Teetotaller / St. Anne’s Reel / London Lasses
- Temperance Reel / June Apple
- The Teetotaller / The Silver Spear
- The Scholar / The Teetotaller / The High Reel
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- More Recordings
- Video – Tim Connell & Eric Skye: Temperance Reel – mandolin & guitar. From the album June Apple (Portland, Oregon, USA)
- Video – Shane Farrell: The Teetotallers Reel – played on tenor banjo
- Video – Conor Lamb (Whistle Workshops): The Teetotaller (Reel) – played slowly on a D tin whistle. Video shows finger placement.
- Book – Foinn Seisiún, Volume 1 — Published by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
- Book – Peter Cooper: The Complete Irish Fiddle Player (Mel Bay Publications) – with accompanying audio tracks.
- Book & Audio – Stephen Ducke: Irish Music – 400 Traditional Tunes
- Lesson – Red Desert Fiddle: Teetotallers Reel (played slow) – fiddle lesson video. Also see Teetotallers Reel (played medium speed)
- Lesson – Irish Tenor Banjo with Enda Scahill: The Temperance Reel – A Lesson on Irish Tenor Banjo – partial lesson demonstrating simple and ornamented versions of the tune. (Full lesson requires membership in Enda Scahill’s Patreon channel.)
- Lesson – Conor Lamb (Whistle Workshops): The Teetotaller (Reel) – Slow – The Teetotaller played slowly on a D tin whistle. Video shows finger placement. (Also see the faster version.)
- Additional Resources
- Webpage – The Session: Temperance (Reel) – crowdsourced sheet music, comments, and other information